Film Reviews, News & Competitions

 
 


Mississippi Grind

 
 
Film Information
 

Plot: Down on his luck and facing financial hardship, Gerry teams up with a younger charismatic poker player named Curtis in an attempt to change his luck.
Release Date: Monday 7th March 2016
Format: DVD
Director(s): Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Analeigh Tipton, Ben Mendelsohn, Sienna Miller, Robin Weigert and Alfre Woodard
BBFC Certificate: 15
Running Time: 1hr 48mins
Country Of Origin: USA
Review By: Alex Moss
Genre:
 
Film Rating
 
 
 
 
 
4/ 5


 

Bottom Line


A grimy and visceral ode to the seduction of gambling Mississippi Grind plays its cards close to its chest and ends up winning big on character and emotion.


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Posted March 6, 2016 by

 
Film Review
 
 

Gambling and addiction, it’s a tale as old as time and one that cinema has always been a ready bed companion. Mississippi Grind doesn’t try and tell you anything new about the highs and lows of betting big and losing eveything but it does so with a sense of Americana, a slice of blue collar existence and the very harrowing reality that even when you’re down, some people just don’t know when to quit.

Gerry (Ben Mendelsohn) is a bonafide gambler, he’s up to his eyeballs in debt, sleepwalking through life until you suspect he takes one risk too many. And then he meets Curtis (Ryan Reynolds) a live in the moment kind of guy, he’s not so much about the money, for him, the journey is the destination. So, having met over a poker game, the pair realise they might just be good luck charms for each other. Setting off on a road trip along the Mississippi they find every card game and casino going to try and win big. But with Gerry’s addiction growing increasingly out of control Curtis begins to wonder if the hand they’ve been dealt isn’t as lucky as he first thought.

Mississippi Grind’s biggest forte is the two central characters. Gerry is a hunched-over disaster just waiting for everything to fall apart. He keeps a cigar box full of treasured possessions that he refers to as his emergency fund, things that have value in a pawn shop paling into insignificance to what they mean to Gerry. Curtis meanwhile is footloose and fancy free, or at least he is on the surface.

For much of the film you wonder if one or both of these characters are playing the other. If there is in fact a long game at work as the two size each other up, get under each other’s skins only to reveal an ace up the sleeve. And it is to writer, directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck’s credit that you’re unlikely to ever be able to second guess, well, anything that the pair are really up to.

Instead you’re asked to sit back and watch as these two very real, very honest, very broken people try to navigate the world they’ve chosen to occupy. But more than anything it’s fascinating to witness them ebb and flow on their respective outlooks on life.

Ryan Reynolds is always a watchable screen presence, his cocksure swagger and billion dollar smile assuring you that Curtis is a good guy. But towards the third act you begin to see glimmers of something in Reynolds that he’s previously never shown, a depth and detail to a character that hints he could be more than Ryan Reynolds and in fact a bona fide acting talent. Meanwhile Mendelsohn is utterly captivating to watch. Somehow managing to channel Dustin Hoffman levels of pathos, Gary Oldman levels of living on the edge and John Hurt levels of hangdog delivery it is hypnotic to take this journey with him.
A grimy and visceral ode to the seduction of gambling Mississippi Grind plays its cards close to its chest and ends up winning big on character and emotion.


Alex Moss Editor

 
Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email: alex.moss@filmjuice.com


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